No dragons to be had here. Photo courtesy Alessandra Di Simone.

Ryerson and the Goblet of Fire

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By Hannah Polinski  

The sun has set and Sandy Costa, the Ryerson Triwizard competitor, maneuvers her way through a maze in search of a golden egg. Guided by the light of a full moon, she runs in circles trying to avoid the dementors that stand in her way. With her wand pointed, she shouts “expecto patronum” — the creatures vanish.

The Triwizard Tournament is a fictional contest that appears in the fourth novel of the popular Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling. York University’s Harry Potter club — also known as the Ministry of Magic — decided to re-create the tournament described in the books.

After going through the preliminary stage of filling out a lengthy application meant to test Harry Potter knowledge, Costa, who is now in her third year of business management and plays on Ryerson’s Quidditch team, was chosen at random to compete.

So far, she has successfully completed two challenges since she began the tournament in October. With one more challenge left to go, the tournament champion will be determined next month.

“I grew up with the Harry Potter books,” Costa said. “The games are as close as you can make them to the books. It’s really great to see how they’ve made this all come together.”

In the first task, modeled after the plot in the book, competitors had to make their way through a corn maze in search of a golden egg. The second challenge, similar to the underwater lake event described in the series, was an obstacle course set in the York University pool.

In each challenge, Costa was able to test her spell-casting knowledge by dueling head to head with some of the characters in the Harry Potter world — death eaters, dementors, and grindylows alike. To duel, two people yell out spells until one repeats or cannot think of a new spell.

“In the maze it was really frustrating because someone from the Ministry of Magic was playing Peeves (a ghost from Hogwarts) and I didn’t know how to get rid of him,” Costa said. “He would run around and spray you with silly string and water … I just tried to go around [him].”

The pool task was a challenge for Costa, who admits she is not the strongest swimmer. The champions had to swim from one side of the pool to the other, dodging pool noodles and yoga mats while going through hoops and avoiding grindylows — mystical dark creatures of the deep. In the books, champions have to rescue a friend from the bottom on the lake. In the Toronto version, balloons that have a face and the name of a loved one on them are secured to the bottom of the pool and guarded by death eaters.

The third event has not yet been revealed, but it’s set to take place in a massive field. It will most likely be open to spectators — including both wizards and muggles.

“I don’t know what [the third event] will be because the only task from the books they haven’t done is the dragon battle, but how can you fight a dragon in real life?” Costa said.

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